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APPENDIX D.

SAFETY APPLIANCES AND RAILWAY ACCIDENTS.

SAFETY APPLIANCES.

REPORT OF THE CHIEF INSPECTOR OF SAFETY APPLIANCES TO

THE SECRETARY.

INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION,

Washington, D. C., December 1, 1904. Hon. EDWARD A. MOSELEY,

Secretary Interstate Commerce Commission. SIR: The accompanying table shows defects to safety appliances on freight cars as reported to the Commission by its inspectors during the year ending June 30, 1904, and also shows corresponding data, for the purpose of comparison, for the preceding three years.

Additional work entailed upon the inspection force by reason of train inspection and the securing of evidence of violation of the law made such demands on the force as to retard and curtail the regular inspection of safety appliances. For this reason it would seem that the force should be materially increased.

Power to prohibit the use of any car or locomotive when its safety-appliance equipment is in dangerous condition would be of great advantage.

The inspectors' reports show that while improved conditions exist in maintenance of safety appliances in various sections and on certain railways, yet the general condition for the past three years throughout the country is retrograding. The only explanation to be made is that wear and tear and the neglect of railway companies to make repairs are responsible.

One feature which contributes to this condition of equipment is the agreement made between railways to receive cars from connections no matter in what condition, provided they can be run. Many of the car's so handled have detective safety appliances and are handled by train or switching crews many miles, more or less, until such time as repairs are made. Often repairs are not made until the car has to be sent to the shop for heavy repairs. This is the practice in most large cities throughout the country. At some points it is called the agents' agreement,” at others the “superintendents' agreement.”

The number of freight cars inspected during the year is 208,177, of which 65,183 had defective safety appliances; there were 278 men killed and 3,441 men injured in coupling and uncoupling cars during this same period; the number of passenger cars inspected was 2,319, of which but 42 were defective. If passenger equipment can be kept in such ideal condition, freight equipment should be in better condition than it is to-day, and then casualties of a magnitude approaching the figures quoted above would be an impossibility.

This inspection does not show the complete condition of automatic couplers because the greater number of cars inspected are coupied, making the thorough examination of the couplers impossible.

Under the head of " lock block inoperative” are included the lock blocks which are inoperative from concealed causes. While this condition appears worse than in the previous years, it is quite possible that it results from the use of couplers of designs which make it harder to determine the true cause of inoperation.

An increase in the number of defects to couplers and parts is apparent to the extent of two defects on each 1,000 cars examined, as compared with last year. This increase seems small, yet the increase of certain defects within this class shows that the wear and tear of service is now telling, and it is easy to surmise what the condition will be in a few years' time if couplers are allowed to deteriorate without ample renewal. To be specific, the number of couplers, knuckles, and lock blocks badly worn, and the number of knuckle pins and lock blocks broken, has increased, and as the presence of these defects in couplers in actual service is apt to cause “ break-in-twos,” it would seem that the obvious remedy, renewal of parts, should be applied.

The insertion of bolts, rods or knuckle pins of too small section in place of the proper knuckle pin for the coupler to be repaired is a contributory cause to the “ break-in-two" class of accidents.

While there is improvement in the maintenance of uncoupling mechanism in some items, and retrogression in others, still the general average condition of uncoupling mechanism remains practically constant.

An increase in the number of defects to hand-holds and sill steps is accounted for, largely, by the fact that many cars are coming into use which are not provided with hand-holds or sill step on the “A” end of the car. As this practice is not in accord with that recommended by the Master Car Builders' Association, such cars were reported as being deficient in hand-holds and sill step.

The ladder equipment has always been well maintained, and the past year has witnessed a slight improvement in the general condition.

The provision of the safety-appliance law requiring that power brakes shall be used, to the extent of at least 50 per cent of the brake equipment of each train, having been put into full effect during this year, a closer inspection of air brakes was necessitated. As a consequence, many more defects are shown, and the number of defects disclosed in the air-brake system, per 1,000 cars inspected, is greater than in years previous to 1904.

As the law regarding the safety-appliance equipment of locomotives did not go into full effect until March, 1904, the complete inspection of locomotives was not commenced until that date, and for that reason the condition of such appliances on motive power is not dwelt upon in detail in this year's report. It is confidently asserted that the succeeding years will find the locomotives of the railways of the country well provided with safety appliances. Very respectfully,

J. W. WATSON,

Chief Inspector.

COMPARATIVE CLASSIFIED TABLE OF DEFECTIVE SAFETY APPLIANCES ON FREIGHT

CARS, AS REPORTED BY THE INSPECTORS FOR THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION, FOR THE YEARS ENDING JUNE 30, 1904, 1903, 1902, AND 1901.

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Total

3,375

3,280

6,655

6,599

4,311

2,374 110 75 1,495 912

COMPARATIVE CLASSIFIED TABLE OF DEFECTIVE SAFETY APPLIANCES ON FREIGHT

CARS, ETC.-Continued.

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2,995

603

937 2,086 2,607 493 56

823
491

181
2,120
2, 449
329

66 2,860

160 1,929

48 1,050

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304

Uncoupling lever broken
Uncoupling lever wrong
Uncoupling lever bent
Uncoupling lever incorrectly applied
Uncoupling lever missing -
Uncoupling chain broken
Uncoupling chain too long
Uncoupling chain too short
Uncoupling chain kinked
Uncoupling chain missing-
End casting broken..
End casting wrong
End casting bent.
End casting loose
End casting incorrectly applied
End casting missing
Keeper broken...
Keeper wrong
Keeper bent.
Keeper loose
Keeper incorrectly applied.
Keeper missing
Clevis broken
Clevis missing
Clevis pin broken.
Clevis pin missing
Clevis-pin key missing.
Angle clip loose
Angle clip missing -

182 1,676

54 1,021

224 449 402

1,958

211 147

386 239
2,609
1,094 1,886
1, 118 571
4,206 5,773
5,056 6,588

822 1,310

122 58 3,164 440

342 458 3, 605 4,078

102 114
2,071

1,858
376
724 384
812 764
45 74

19
2,124 2,164

76
481 335

511
2,659 2,091

10 377
2, 488 2,702

7 15 20

152

275

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18

12

410
27

7
1,087

23 131

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12 1,037

53 350

277 1,702

3 1,004

234

957

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7 1,484

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16 121 559

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